Ep1. James Cantwell, Grizzly x Napkin

From Culinary Dropout to Pizza Perfection

James Cantwell dropped out of culinary school and navigated odd jobs for years. Yet, the love for the craft drew him back to his culinary roots, determined to make his passion a reality.

Six years of intense kitchen work honed his skills, and finally, his dream took shape. He opened his own pizzeria and Burger joint in Arklow, Co Wicklow in 2020. And Grizzly X Napkin’s pizza became a local sensation!

Starting up took months of research and planning, testing different pizza doughs and sourcing fresh produce. His search for the best type of firewood to use in his small pizza oven, led James to Forno1889 briquettes. He found that they burn more consistently than everything else he tried.

His philosophy is simple: quality ingredients, fair prices, and a whole lot of heart. And at the centre of it all, the irresistible magic of a wood-fired oven.

"There's something special about wood-fired ovens," he says, his voice warm with passion. "The fire, the way it fills the air, the atmosphere it creates – it's unlike anything else." And for him, the perfect pizza? It's not about extravagance, but about a harmony of flavors – a classic pepperoni and pineapple or a simple marinara dressed with parmesan cheese.

But his passion extends far beyond the perfect pizza. He thrives on the joy of connecting with customers, the camaraderie with his staff, and the simple satisfaction of seeing people happy. For him, success isn't measured in Euros and cents, but in the fulfilment of doing what he loves.


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Showcasing Ireland's dedicated pizza obsessives.